Someday, when we look back on the Great Recession and its outsize impact on the remodeling and housing market, we might see 2011 as the turning point.
Last year showed us some indicators of tentative growth in home sales and starts, a positive trend that continued through the first few months of 2012. There also seems to be early signs of a thaw in the remodeling market, as our Market Leaders in most cases reported a better 2011 than 2010, with positive sales trends to lead off 2012.
Professional Remodeler’s annual Market Leaders list, which identifies the top remodelers in 20 of the largest remodeling markets in the country, was compiled through a combination of research by Professional Remodeler staff, publicly available data and information provided by the listed companies.
The median 2011 installed volume of this year’s Market Leaders was $4.7 million, reversing four years of declining revenues. While still 30 percent below 2007’s peak of $6.7 million, it represents a healthy gain of 27 percent from 2010 and is the highest level since 2008’s $5.7 million.
Nearly two-thirds of this year’s Market Leaders increased their revenue in 2011, ahead of last year’s 51 percent. The Market Leaders are also optimistic about 2012. Eighty-five percent of the firms on this year’s list are projecting growth for 2012.
Only those companies that operate in only one region are eligible for the Market Leaders list — not large national firms. America’s Top Remodelers, our national list covering the entire country, will be published in November. Visit www.HousingZone.com/ATR2012 to apply for this year’s list.
Jackson Design & Remodeling (featured on this month’s cover) is a prime example of how many of the Market Leaders are making a comeback as 2011 rolls into 2012.
The company grew sales 57 percent and revenue 37 percent from 2010 to 2011 and is projecting continued growth to $11 million in sales and $9.4 in revenue in 2012.
That growth came for a number of reasons, but most important has been a determination to stay focused and create an environment of confidence at the San Diego design/build firm, says CEO Todd Jackson.
“We started to create our own environment within our walls,” he says. “The whole world could be falling apart out there and I don’t care. We have clients who come in and they’ve gone to some of our competitors and I believe they see this nervousness, this craziness.”
Jackson also made the important choice not to pull back on his marketing, a decision that has helped the company grow and grab market share. Some of that was forced by the company’s new design center, which the firm opened in 2008.
“We had a new building, so we can’t really turn back,” Jackson says. “We don’t have the option but to focus and get it done.”
Jackson was also aware of studies that showed companies that reduced their marketing in previous recessions did not see the kind of growth that those companies that stayed focused did. The company was also smart about its marketing — not chasing work outside its sweet spot, but staying focused on design/build and building relationships.
With 40 percent of the company’s revenue goals sold coming into 2012, the challenge is now to stay on target and make sure the right people are in place to manage the growth and keep the clients happy, Jackson says.
“It’s nice to be back to the challenges people talked about six or seven years ago — keeping that drive going,” he says.